Known for its beachside attractions in Caroline Bay, Timaru boasts Victorian and Edwardian buildings that house a popular art gallery and museum with moa-hunter artifacts. Learn about local Maori traditions and rock art at a cultural center or explore pleasant walking paths through a beautiful botanic garden.
Things to do in Timaru
Start your exploration of Timaru at Caroline Bay, where outdoor enthusiasts can relax at the sandy beach or stroll along the Caroline Bay Boardwalk, which winds around the sand dunes. Listen to live music concerts on the beach in summer or kick back at one of the restaurants and cafes between the beach and main shopping zone.
Learn more about the nature, history and native people of the region at South Canterbury Museum. Browse exhibits highlighting local wildlife and preserved fossils, then visit the Takata Whenua exhibition and Heritage Theatre to see how Maori communities existed and watch short films about local folklore.
For a closer look at Timaru’s diverse foliage, head to Timaru Botanic Gardens. Wander through trails past shady trees and herb gardens, then stop to feed ducks at picturesque ponds or inhale the pleasant scent of the rose garden.
Considered the hub of art culture in South Canterbury, the Aigantighe Art Gallery is housed in a 100-year-old home. Admire British Victorian paintings and pieces from local artists, then step outside to see the beautiful sculpture garden. Art enthusiasts can also make the trek to Timaru’s Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre to hear tribal stories from local Maori guides.
Getting around Timaru
You can fly into Christchurch International Airport, then take a bus or pick up a rental car and drive the 160 kilometers to Timaru. In town, the main mode of transportation is car, but it’s possible to get around the city centre on foot.